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Archive for September, 2010

The Real Truth About Truth in Sentencing

The Canadian Press is reporting that they have accessed an internal report which indicates that the real impact of Bill C-25 – An Act to Amend the Criminal Code, may be felt unevenly. Specifically, those in rural communities and Aboriginals may bear the brunt of the legal reforms.

The Bill, also known as the “Truth in Sentencing Act,” forces judges to impose 1-for-1 time for credit in pre-trial custody, unless written explanation is provided otherwise. For a number of reasons judges had previously been allowed to provide more credit for pre-trial custody, in practical recognition of the poorer conditions, . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation

Vaughan on Haldane

I’ve been distracted today by a book that arrived in the morning mail: Frederick Vaughan, Viscount Haldane: ‘The Wicked Step-father of the Canadian Constitution’ (Toronto: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History / University of Toronto Press, 2010)(LAC Amicus no. 38031823)(UTP pid no. 2758). For those not familiar with the name, this is from pages xv and xvi of the introduction:

It is fair to say that no jurist in our history has received so much learned abuse as Viscount Haldane of Cloan. Twenty years after his death, he received a scholarly tongue-lashing from the late chief

. . . [more]
Posted in: Miscellaneous, Reading: Recommended

NY Ethics Opinion on Public Information on Social Media Sites

The New York State Bar Association has decided that it is ethical for lawyers to gather information on adverse parties in litigation from publicly accessible social media pages of those parties. Lawyers are not allowed to ‘friend’ the adverse parties, or have anyone else do so. (This is consistent with the Philadelphia Bar opinion from last year.)

A story about the Philadelphia Bar view is here (the Bar’s own site is currently down for maintenance).

Here’s how the press characterized the NY State ruling: “Lawyers may comb social media for dirt”. Does that strike you as fair?

What would we . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, ulc_ecomm_list

The Friday Fillip

I often think that the only truly harmless thing that human beings do together is the making of music. If I include dancing as well, then I’ve embraced the two videos I offer you today, each of which shows how much pleasure we can get and give in groups, and will, I hope, delight you.

The first relies on surprise and incongruity: you’re at a big city train terminal, hustling on in your daily commute when:

The expressions on the faces of the onlookers are something wonderful to see.

The second is surprising because it makes use of technology to . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous

The Way of All Books

Here’s a great article in the Boston Globe about what happens to the books of famous authors (also, not so famous authors). It is pretty much what happens to everyone’s books: they get dispersed, re-read, sometimes re-assembled…

Its a great intro. to some of the qualities of books that are well known by every bibliophile, librarian and book historian, but not well known for most people who fall somewhere in between: the social value of books, their virus-like valences, and their unique physicality. Plus, you get to see some of the book world realities that drive books from hand to . . . [more]

Posted in: Reading

Reminder: IT-Can Conference

This is just a reminder that the early bird deadline is on September 28 for the upcoming IT-Can conference.

From the their brochure [PDF]:

The 14th Annual IT.CAN conference will be held at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, Montreal on October 28-29, 2010. The program is regarded as the premiere Information Technology Law Conference in Canada as it offers a wide array of up to the minute IT Law topics presented by some of the leading practitioners from across the country. The program is very reasonably priced and should be attended by anyone who practices significantly in the area of . . . [more]

Posted in: Announcements

Zotero Everywhere

Zotero has announced that it will be releasing a standalone desktop version of the program that will integrate with Internet Explorer, Safari, and Chrome. At the present, Zotero is only an extension to the Firefox browser.

Zotero is a free note-taking application much favoured by researchers and others who need to clip, annotate, and organize material from the web along with bibliographic metadata. Zotero comes with a variety of bibliographic and citation styles built in (though not, I think, the Canadian legal citation format).

This move will make Zotero Everywhere a sensible alternative to other popular note-taking tools, such as . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Information Management, Technology

If I Had $1.8 Billion Dollars…

$1.8 billions dollars. That’s what the Truth in Sentencing plank of the Federal government’s ‘get-tough-on-crime’ policy will cost in new prison construction alone over the next five years. We’re not even talking about what it will cost to hire the additional correctional service employees to staff these new prisons. Keep in mind as well that Truth in Sentencing – which eliminates the long-standing two-for-one credit on pre-trial custody – is just one of the many new so-called anti-crime initiatives either already in force or soon to be in force courtesy of the Tory law-and-order agenda.

As a defence lawyer writing . . . [more]

Posted in: Justice Issues

A Great Month for Online IP Resources

Intellectual property researchers should have a look at WIPO Lex, a new reference resource from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) that provides up-to-date information on national IP laws and treaties of the members of WIPO, the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. It currently features the complete IP legal texts for over 60 countries with substantial coverage for a further 100 legal systems.

IP history buffs can also explore Primary Sources on Copyright (1450-1900) sponsored by the Arts & Humanities Research Council (Great Britain). It is a “collection of key primary documents from five countries—the United States, . . . [more]

Posted in: Legal Information: Libraries & Research, Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Substantive Law: Legislation

Glick and the Unified Theory of Everything

The Canadian Association of Law Libraries is hosting a webinar next week.

Wednesday September 29, 2010
Time 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. (EDT)
The Unified Theory of Everything (in Information Policy)

SPEAKER: Jacob Glick, Google’s Canada Policy Counsel

Jacob Glick is part of a global policy team, working with academics, civil society, industry and government to keep the Internet awesome. He regularly writes, presents, blogs and tweets on issues related to privacy, intellectual property, telecommunication and broadcasting regulation, online advertising, and innovation policy. Jacob studied Political Science and Law at the University of Toronto. Prior to joining Google he was

. . . [more]
Posted in: Education & Training: CLE/PD

How Big Is Your Silhouette?

I’m returning from the Canadian Centre for Court Technology conference with a mix of problems, questions, solutions, and vague ideas swirling around in my head. I’d like to pluck one of my wilder notions out of this brain brew and offer it up here for discussion and a reality check.

As is the case whenever people get together to talk about technology, there’s a good deal of nervous and plaintive discussion about its unwelcome aspects — the way it intrudes work into formerly private time, the way it gooses the already speedy nature of our lives. There’s nothing here that’s . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law, Technology

Getting Into the Practice Plan

I’m reading Patrick McKenna’s new Slaw column offering advice to the newly minted law firm support professional. His three points, I think, are all spot on; and I say that after spending more than 12 years in-house. Generating respect as a non-lawyer within a law firm isn’t easy, but it is entirely possible.

No matter which role you play, the big challenge will always be to select the right projects. And the curve ball, is that it doesn’t matter if you believe that your selected projects are important or valuable. What matters is if those projects deliver value to the . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Marketing, Practice of Law: Practice Management